Emotional Abuse

Abuse is occurring when one person consistently uses behaviors to assert power or control over a partner in a relationship.

When we think of domestic abuse, we usually envision a man abusing a woman. However, this is not always the case. There are countless instances of men who are abused by women. Often, these men are incapable of seeing that they are in an abusive relationship. They just know that they "can't take it anymore." Often abusive relationships are associated with physical violence; however emotional abuse can be just as devastating and destructive. Size, strength and gender become non-issues in the face of emotional, verbal, financial and psychological abuse.

Emotional abuse is an attempt to control, in just the same way that physical abuse is an attempt to control another person. The only difference is that the emotional abuser does not use physical hitting, kicking, pinching, grabbing, pushing, or other physical forms of harm. Rather the perpetrator of emotional abuse uses emotion as his/her weapon of choice.


We can almost always tell when a relationship feels "off" or wrong. But often, we dismiss our concerns because we understand that all normal relationships have problems and that there are no perfect relationships. We especially seem to dismiss these concerns when we encounter a man being abused by a woman. This type of abuse seems improbable. How can a seemingly strong man possibly be abused by a smaller and weaker woman? We tend to forget that abuse is not always about physical size. Psychological abuse is just one brain controlling another brain.

"Domestic violence is not about size, gender, or strength," says Jan Brown, executive director and founder of the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men. "It's about abuse, control, and power, and getting out of dangerous situations and getting help, whether you are a woman being abused, or a man."

Men are more likely to be embarrassed by their abuse, making them less likely to report it, according to the Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men web site, which states men often worry, "What will people think if they knew I let a woman beat up on me?" and "I don't want to be laughed at; no one would believe me." Also, women who batter may have a greater ability to use the "system" to their advantage.


Society believes in the myth of “mutual abuse” and the idea that there is “two sides to every story.”

Time and time again, we are fed the myth that survivors somehow contributed to the abuse or that the abusive behavior was somehow part of a dysfunctional relationship where both parties were to blame.

Let’s get this straight: abuse arises from a power imbalance where the abuser is able to diminish the victim’s sense of self-worth, subjecting them to name-calling, stonewalling, put-downs, sabotage and control for a period of time. A victim’s eventual reactions to these tactics, while they can be maladaptive, should never be seen as “mutual abuse” – the National Domestic Violence Hotline dispels the common myth that it takes “two to tango.”


Can men be abuse victims

Abuse is never OK. If you are being abused, it is NOT your fault!

Recognition of abuse is the first step to prevention

The first step in dealing with emotional abuse is learning to spot the signs. If you're not aware of the emotional abuse, you can't make it stop. The first sign of emotional abuse might be just something in the pit of the stomach, a vague feeling that something is "wrong." It's only by further assessing these feelings and the relationship that emotional abuse can be seen and stopped.

In short, in an emotionally abusive relationship, one party will try to control and dominate the other party by using abusive techniques. There becomes a power imbalance in abusive relationships where the abuser has all the power and the victim feels that they have none. However, victims really do have the power in this situation to stop the emotional abuse, but it can be difficult.


Emotional Abuse Will Often Turn Physical

An abuser will beat any partner if the individual is involved with the abuser long enough for the cycle of abuse to begin. Circumstances do not make a person an abusive personality. http://www.newhopeforwomen.org/abuser-tricks

Overcoming Abuse Gender Stereotypes

Our society still clings to stereotypes of men as being macho, strong and able to take care of themselves. As a result, the image of a woman yelling at, hitting or beating her man may strike many people as comical. After all, the figure of a “henpecked husband” is typically met with laughs, while the abused wife is seen as a tragic figure.

Plus, men may fear that law enforcement won’t take their complaints seriously, or that they’ll end up being arrested themselves.

Part of the problem is that men may not realize that they’re in abusive relationships because the issue of domestic violence has historically been framed as one in which women are the victims.

As a result of the focus on female victims, male victims may be less likely to reach out to support groups and the like for help, believing that those resources are only available to women.